Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall has explored numerous avenues this offseason with a focus on upgrading the pitching staff. The Reds have been rumored to be kicking the tires on numerous trade candidates and are seen as a player for several free agent starters.
The Reds added Nick Martinez and Emilio Pagán and were close to signing Sonny Gray before the All-Star eventually inked a three-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. Cincinnati was also involved in the Tyler Glasnow sweepstakes before the Tampa Bay Rays traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
While adding another starter isn't a bad idea, especially considering the number of injuries Cincinnati's rotation endured in 2023, it's the players who are currently on the roster that will be the difference between making the postseason or coming up short in 2024.
Continued development of Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo is crucial to the Reds' success
Whether or not the Cincinnati Reds add another bonafide starting pitcher this offseason is irrelevant if players like Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo don't play up to their potential. Greene and Lodolo combined to throw 146.1 innings in 2023. Graham Ashcraft logged 145.2 innings pitched by himself.
And before you go pointing the finger at David Bell, the Reds' skipper was not the problem. Greene averaged 95 pitches per start and threw 100 pitches or more in 10 of his 22 starts last season. Greene averaged just over five innings per start. Greene has to be more efficient in 2024.
While Nick Lodolo was injured throughout most of last season, even when the southpaw was healthy, he was a shell of himself. Following a tremendous showing during his rookie season, Lodolo started just seven games in 2023 and posted a 6.29 ERA.
It's unknown, of course, how much Lodolo's injury affected his productivity, but the lefty was lit up like a Christmas tree early and often in 2023. Lodolo, after allowing 7.8 hits per nine innings in 2022, saw that number jump to 13.1 during his sophomore season.
Lodolo's strikeouts were up and his walks were down, but the TCU alum was getting tattooed on a regular basis. Lodolo allowed 10 home runs during his brief stint in 2023, including four games in which the left-hander allowed multiple balls to leave the yard.
While adding another starter should definitely be on Nick Krall's radar, the Cincinnati Reds' success in 2024 will be much more dependent on the availablity and productivity of Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and the other starters currently on the roster.